An Argyll and Bute secondary school has become Scotland’s first ever ‘digital schoolhouse’ as part of a global scheme to encourage the next generation of coding talent.

Dunoon Grammar, together with Nintendo UK, will use play-based learning to engage young learners in computing science.

The digital schoolhouse initiative is delivered by the UK games industry’s trade body Ukie and is backed by the creative digital industries and government. Sponsors include digital heavyweights including PlayStation, SEGA, Ubisoft and Outright Games.

Dunoon Grammar joins 50 existing digital schoolhouses from around the world who work with a growing network of local primary and secondary teachers to deliver free creative and cross curricular computing science workshop using play-based learning.

In the academic year 2021-2022, Ukie hopes to support 30,000 learners and 3,500 teachers through the initiative. This provision supports the computing programme of study for the national curriculum in a way that leaves pupils and teachers feeling inspired about, and engaged with, computing and the wider creative digital industries.

The workshops, aimed at local primary schools, put theory into practice and help teachers embed the digital schoolhouse methods in their own lessons, with ongoing personalised support and continued professional development (CPD).

Underpinned by evidence-based research and combined with ground-breaking careers education, the programme successfully bridges the gap between academia and industry, to ensure pupils are aptly equipped for the future digital economy.

This recognition comes after Dunoon Grammar won the Apps for Good UK School of the Year, became the first Scottish school to receive the JA European Entrepreneurial Award, and the first Scottish school to present at World Education Week.

Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Argyll and Bute’s policy lead for education, said: “Just when you think they’ve reached their peak, Dunoon Grammar does it again. To say I’m proud is an understatement. Dunoon is really leading the way when it comes to digital learning, and this is down to sheer hard work, commitment and dedication of pupils and teaching staff, and the support of our parents and carers.

“The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of digital connectivity, so it is tremendous to see Dunoon Grammar promoting learning opportunities that help to build on this now and in the future.”

David Mitchell, Dunoon headteacher said: “This is fantastic news for our wider school community. We are excited to be able to offer these rich learning opportunities to young people in our partner primary schools and beyond. In doing so, we hope to support colleagues in our primary schools further enrich their knowledge of the curriculum for excellence computing science provision and strengthen further our P7 transition activities.”

Paul Gallanagh, who will be lead teacher for the initiative within Dunoon Grammar, added: “I would like to thank Ukie and associate supporters for welcoming Dunoon Grammar School as a digital schoolhouse. This is a great honour for our school and we are looking forward to extending our own skills and knowledge through participation on this pioneering programme. We will be meeting with local primary headteachers soon to plan how to maximise this experience for their young people.”

Shahneila Saeed, head of education, Ukie and director, Digital Schoolhouse said: “We are thrilled to have Dunoon Grammar School join the digital schoolhouse programme, enabling us to support Scottish students for the very first time. Having a visionary school such as Dunoon Grammar is an ideal creative collaboration and we look forward to bringing our play-based learning approach to Scotland.”